U.S. to Store European Passenger Data for 15 Years

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Millions of air passengers may have their personal information stored in American databases for up to 15 years after travel to the United States as part of a new agreement between the U.S. and the EU.

Details of travelers, including addresses, phone numbers and even credit card information, would be kept by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as part of a new draft agreement between the U.S. and the European Union, the Guardian learned in a draft of the report leaked to the paper.

Just last week, the Senate passed a resolution that scolds the EU for not sharing passenger data more freely.

Homeland Security Committee Chairman, Senator Joe Lieberman, said at the time: "Terrorists still want to use airplanes as weapons of mass destruction against us" and that the U.S. "simply cannot accept" any hampering of the effort by the EU.

As part of the agreement, the U.S. will also ask airlines to provide this personal data up to 96 hours before flight departures. The current system requires airlines to provide what is called the passenger name record 72 hours before departure, which allows U.S. Customs to scan the terrorist watch lists and databases prior to departure.

The Guardian reports that the agreement "acknowledges that there will be occasions when people are delayed or prevented from flying because they are wrongly identified as a threat, and gives them the right to petition for judicial review in the US federal court."

The agreement also outlines what to do in a security breach or loss of data. Amazingly, the agreement also acknowledges the inevitability of racial profiling. "Sensitive personal data", for instance, ethnic origin or political opinions, can we used in "exceptional" circumstances when a life is in danger.

Germany and France have already raised concerns over the agreement, while Britain has already opted in.

It should be noted that the EU has its own system for keeping this kind of data, but it is only stored for 5 years.

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